Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto + a Giveaway!

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

Do I have an exciting post for you today!

You may remember my friend Julia of The Roasted Root. Julia is a health food maven and blogger extraordinaire. She’s known for her gluten-free goodies, savory stews, and kick-ass kombucha, but most of all, the girl can roast a mean root. Not a beet, carrot or tuber gets by her without being turned into something fabulous. Julia is very clearly inspired by vegetables, and so I’m over-the-moon excited about the release of her second cookbook, Let Them Eat Kale!

I can’t think of anyone more perfect than Julia to spend months in the kitchen with countless bunches of beautiful leafy greens, chopping, massaging and braising to her little heart’s content. And now you and I get to reap the benefits. Julia was sweet enough to send me a copy of her book to review (plus another to give away!). Let’s just say I think there are splotches of drool on my copy.

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

This is one seriously gorgeous book. Julia knows what she’s doing behind a camera, and I can’t get over how sexy she makes a bunch of leaves look.

Plus she’s not afraid to hit you with all the info. The book’s introduction breaks down the health benefits of kale (um, it’s some pretty good stuff!) and different kale varieties, as well as kale gardening tips and cooking techniques. Whether you’re intimidated by such a fibrous yet trendy veggie or just want to take your love of kale to the next level, I think you’ll learn something by leafing through the pages. Who knew these greens were so versatile?

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

The book contains almost 200 pages of recipes featuring this virtuous veggie, with sections for:

– Breakfast
– Appetizers, Side Dishes, and Snacks
– Salads
– Soup, Stews, and Chilis
– Main Dishes
– Sauces, Salsas, and Spreads

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

I picked out this Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto to stuff in my face cook and photograph for you all. Isn’t it gorgeous? The recipe called my name as soon as I saw it… perhaps because of that key quinoa ingredient I love so much :) And it did not disappoint. In addition to the quinoa and sautéed kale, this salad is packed full of flavor with pesto, lemon, asparagus, and feta. Truth be told, I’m surprised it lasted long enough to snap a few photos. Definitely the kind of recipe that I sneak a few bites of in between photos until I finally toss the camera aside and just eat my lunch already.

Pesto + quinoa: I am hooked. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be eating a version of this salad every week all summer long. It is THAT good.

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

It may have been no contest as far as which recipe to make first, but there are about 17 others on my list:

– Huevos Rancheros Bake (um YES)

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

– Cheesy Mashed Yams (with kale, obviously)
– Grilled Kale, Peach and Corn Salad with Basil Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette (on the cover!)
– Cauliflower and Kale Yellow Curry (you know I love a good curry)
– Creamy Portobello and Kale Quinoa Bake (can’t resist the quinoa!)
– Sauteed Shrimp and Kale Tacos with Pineapple, Corn, and Kale Salsa (you have to check out these pictures – YUM)

Do you think I’ll turn green if every one of my meals for the next week has two servings of kale in it? Hmmm maybe Student Dr. Nate can answer that question for me…

And now, on to the best part: the giveaway!

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

I’m giving away a copy of Let Them Eat Kale! to one lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me the last time you ate kale and how it was prepared! Or tell me about a kale recipe you’re itching to try :)

The giveaway is open until Sunday July 27th at midnight Eastern time. This giveaway is now closed.

Congrats to Julia on bringing this book into the world. I am so excited to see the fruits (and veggies) of your labor! Give ‘em kale, girl!

Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto

5.0 from 5 reviews
Green Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Avocado and Kale Pesto + a Giveaway!
Yields: 6
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups asparagus, chopped
  • 3 cups tightly packed kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp pesto sauce of choice (Julia has a delicious-looking Kale and Pistachio Pesto recipe in the book!)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roasted
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Using a fine strainer, rinse the quinoa very well with water until the water that comes off of it is clear, not cloudy.
  2. Put the quinoa in a saucepan and soak it for 10 minutes. Drain the water. Add 2 cups of water to the saucepan with the quinoa and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until quinoa absorbs all of the moisture. Remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork, and set aside.
  3. In a saute pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil to medium-high. Add the chopped asparagus and saute until color turns bright green and asparagus begins to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped kale and stir. Cover the saute pan and allow kale to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pesto to the cooked quinoa and stir until combined. Pour the pesto quinoa into the saute pan with the asparagus and kale.
  5. Add the lemon zest, salt, and roasted walnuts and stir together., Pour the quinoa salad into a large serving dish and garnish with avocado and feta cheese.
You can gently fold the avocado and feta cheese into the quinoa salad prior to serving or serve on top.
This salad is delicious both warm and cold!


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  1. Stephanie says

    The last time I had kale was day before yesterday. I made a taco filling with tomato sauce, peppers, pinto beans, and KALE!

  2. Alyson says

    The last kale I ate was in a pita, stuffed with hummus and slivers of carrot and halved cherry tomatoes. The next kale I want to eat is definitely this recipe!

  3. Cynthia says

    Last time I ate kale was in a salad with brussells sprouts, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Lou says

    Kale… use it as a workout drink Kale, young coconut and water and honey to taste also love kale chips oil and oven equals heaven…

  5. says

    I’m seriously beaming right now with an ear-to-ear grin! Thank you so much for your wonderful review of my book – I feel like the green quinoa salad was the perfect recipe for you to choose! I’m so happy you’re excited to whip up some other recipes – You’ll LOVE those tacos, my dear! A million times over, thank you, thank you for all of your kind words and support!!

  6. says

    The last time I ate kale was when I still lived in The Netherlands. There we cook kale until it’s very soft and almost dead to mash it with boiled potatoes. This is actually a classic and the country’s favorite winter dish, especially when you serve it with our traditional smoked sausage and lots of mustard.
    A few months ago, I moved to California and I saw kale in all its varieties (some of them I never ever have seen in NL!). But somehow I couldn’t get myself to buy it while the sun is burning hot. So this book will be a help I guess.

    • Sue Caffey says

      The last time I ate kale it was part of my smoothy (along with a frozen banana, pear, kiwi and some pineapple chunks) and it turned it a lovely shade of green. I’d love a copy of this cookbook, so I could try my hand at some less pedestrian uses!

  7. says

    Man, you sure know how to make quinoa look good. ;)
    I’m so excited to try this recipe and all of the others in that book! It really is something special and she’s so sweet to share it with all of us. And yes, she can definitely roast a mean root, haha!

  8. carol says

    I need this book for inspiration because I don’t eat enough Kale! I make Kale chips and once threw a little in a smoothie but it’s not enough! Teach me the fine art of cooking with this green – PLEASE!!!!!

  9. Erika W. says

    I have not tried kale before though I do buy it for my husband who puts it in his post-workout shakes.

  10. Erica says

    I made kale chips on Thursday and never know what else to do with the stuff, so I’m using this recipe to broaden my kale horizons! Thanks for the post!

  11. Kayla says

    This looks like a fantastic recipe. Can’t wait to try it. I stumbled upon your blog today and am excited to go over some of your previous posts.
    I had kale this morning in a green smoothie. Kale, Spinach, Celery, Cucumber, Chia Seeds, Apple, Pear, and some Lemon Juice.

  12. Kale Earnhardt Jr. says

    We eat kale fairly regularly, but usually with little variety in the preparation (kale soup, kale chips, sauteed kale). Would love to start incorporating some new recipes, and plan to make this quinoa one tonight – it looks delicious!

  13. Christina says

    I last ate kale on Sunday, when I mixed it with some summer squash and quinoa pasta in a delicious homemade pesto!

  14. Mandy says

    Last time I had kale was a few months ago at a restaurant for a birthday dinner. It was a kale Caesar salad and it was so good!

  15. says

    I love kale! I also have Kale pesto planned I’m going to use this thrify recipe ( next week. I really want to try kale chips too, I’ve heard great things. I am UK based, I suspect your giveaway is US only so feel free to ignore my entry I just wanted to comment anyway as the book looks so lovely and I’ll be pinning this recipe for later :D

  16. Krista says

    Last time I had kale, I baked some ever-popular kale chips. I added sriracha for a little more zing.

  17. debbie says

    My chard is growing like crazy right now so I’ve actually been eating that instead of kale for about 3 weeks. I use kale is so many things – gratins, enchiladas, you name it.

  18. Heather says

    Oh my goodness I need this! I’ve loved watching Kale’s “Rise to Popularity” – what a lovely veggie!

  19. Emily says

    Oh, Kale. Where does one begin? Whether it’s sautéed, in a salad, an ever so savory chip, in a soup, or baked into a veggie lasagna, I am SO excited about Kale! I am always looking for new ways to enjoy this amazing superfood! Just a little bit ago I juiced ‘the queen of all greens’ combined with a few other dark leafy greens and a couple fresh fruits, into what would become my breakfast! I must master the art of Kale and Pistachio Pesto next, it seems absolutely incredible! I can’t seem to get enough of quinoa and asparagus either lately…and uh, a little of this Kale and Pistachio pesto would put them both over the top! Actually can I just have it with a spoon?! Or maybe just on everything I eat ever again?


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